Drone Sighting Shuts Down Heathrow

Despite anti-drone technology being purchased by both Heathrow and Gatwick, the UK’s largest airport has suspended all flights due to an alleged drone sighting near the runway. Developing…

UPDATE: A Heathrow spokesperson has said:

“We are responding to a drone sighting at Heathrow and are working closely with the Met Police to prevent any threat to operational safety. As a precautionary measure, we have stopped departures while we investigate. We apologise to passengers for any inconvenience”

UPDATE II: Heathrow spokesperson has said departures have resumed and all runways are now open. They were shut down for an hour…

Anti-Heathrow Cabinet Minister Abroad For Tonight’s Vote

All eyes on Boris’ whereabouts, which cannot yet be reported for security reasons, though it’s worth noting he is not the only Heathrow Cabinet critic who is missing tonight’s vote. Philip Hammond has long opposed a third runway, telling the Telegraph in 2010 that the idea was “Dead. Dead as a Norwegian parrot”. In 2015, he told his constituents he backed expanding Gatwick instead:

“London’s role as an international air transport hub can be maintained without additional runways at Heathrow. A second runway at Gatwick, plus enhanced transport links between the airports and better transport links to London will create a ‘virtual’ hub airport, maintaining Heathrow’s role in the local economy without expanding it.”

Hammond has sent a solitary tweet backing the government this morning, but we know what he really thinks. He will be defying the three line whip when he misses the vote in Mumbai tonight…

Hands Off Over Heathrow Vote

Greg Hands has resigned from the government as it emerged there will be a whip on the Heathrow vote on Monday. Hands is a longstanding campaigner against a third runway. He tweeted:

“As the Government will be whipping the vote on Monday, this means I am resigning from the Government. It has been an honour to serve the Prime Minister (and her predecessor) for the last 7 years and I wish the PM & the Government every continuing success.”

More could follow…

LibDem Richmond Candidate Encounters Turbulence

olney

The LibDem by-election campaign in Richmond has two key messages: that their candidate Sarah Olney will vote against Article 50 and oppose Heathrow expansion even more so than Zac. How is that going?

First Olney was forced to delete her website after saying we should go ahead with Brexit:

“Britain is leaving the EU – OK, I accept that. I don’t think we should re-run the referendum. I think we should stick to the course that has been decided.”

Now it turns out her husband helped to build Heathrow Terminal 5. “Town planner” Ben Olney’s CV boasts that before his current job he was “working on the delivery of Terminal 5 at Heathrow”.

olney2

Sarah has plastered Ben’s face all over her leaflets and heavily involved him in her campaign. Richmond LibDems have an anti-Brexit candidate who wants Brexit to go ahead, an anti-Heathrow expansion candidate whose husband helped expand Heathrow… 

May Ignored Constituents on Heathrow

may2

Guido has dug out an old poll of constituents in Maidenhead commissioned by its MP. The voters there reported that they opposed airport expansion in the South East by 58% to 33%, also preferring a new airport to be built than a third runway at Heathrow by 39% to 23%. 77% expressed concerns about noise, 70% about air pollution and 69% about increased traffic. Who was the Tory MP who asked for and then ignored the views of her constituents? One Theresa May…

Boris Channels Aeroplane To Prove His Point

The interviewer jokes that Boris used his powers to activate the plane at that precise moment. Boris replies: “It’s nothing to what it will be, or would be”. The force is strong with Boris…

Boris Says His Bulldozer Protest Long Way Off

Boris Johnson has lamented the fact that London will become “a city of planes” if the plans for a new runway at Heathrow Airport go ahead. Boris has previously said that he would lie in front of the bulldozers to prevent it getting built and that “a third runway is undeliverable”. Today he says “the day when the bulldozers appear is a long way off, if indeed they ever materialise.” Will be interesting if he is Prime Minister at the time the runway gets built…

It’s Heathrow

The government have confirmed it has decided on a third runway at Heathrow. Boris says he will oppose it. Zac will be making a statement this evening:

“No ifs, no buts” – Zac said if the government gave Heathrow the green light he would call a by-election…

Judge Rules McDonnell Irrelevant

McDonnell Trial

A judge has refused Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell’s attempt to give evidence at the trial of 13 climate protesters accused of blockading a Heathrow runway. Plane Stupid supporters are alleged to have cut a hole in a fence at the airport before chaining themselves to railings on the north runway in July 2015. They apparently even wore nappies so they didn’t have to break the strike to nip to the loo… 

McDonnell wanted to give evidence defending “the benefits of direct action”, yet District Judge Deborah Wright deemed what he had to say irrelevant:

“It (his witness statement) gives an opinion about the debate around the expansion of Heathrow and talks about the benefits of direct action, which he says may cause short term inconvenience. In order to allow his evidence to be given I have to be able to say that it is relevant. I am therefore not going to allow Mr McDonnell to give give evidence.”

That’s the same direct action advocate John McDonnell who previously endorsed spitting in your boss’ tea. What is it with Labour’s top two and defending alleged criminals in court?

Environmental Advantages of Airport Expansion

 

Watch this video of all those airplanes circling around London waiting for a landing slot. Not just wasting passengers time, they are burning up fuel wastefully.

More runways mean planes will spend less time in the skies, which will be good for the environment…

Ryanair Have a Typically Efficient and Cost Effective Solution

Ryanair have a long term economic plan, to allow Britain to compete in the global race:

“Ryanair believes that the proposed Heathrow runway – which won’t be delivered for 10 or 15 years – won’t solve the runway capacity crisis in the South East. Ryanair strongly advocates taking politicians out of runway decision making and allowing each of the three London airports, Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted, to build 3 competing runways which will solve the capacity crisis in the South East for the next 100 years, while at the same time allowing competition between the airports to deliver this capacity efficiently. It remains a fact that additional runways in Stansted and Gatwick can and will be delivered much earlier than any Heathrow third runway.”

Even better if the airports want to pay for it…

Zac and Boris: Heathrow Not Happening

The long-awaited Davies Commission

“has unanimously concluded that the proposal for a new northwest runway at Heathrow Airport, combined with a significant package of measures to address its environmental and community impacts, presents the strongest case and offers the greatest strategic and economic benefits – providing around 40 new destinations from the airport and more than 70,000 new jobs by 2050”

Here comes trouble.

Zac Goldsmith, the Tories’ star mayoral candidate, confirms this morning that he will resign his seat if the government presses ahead with with recommendations. “It’s a pledge of course I’d honour,” he tells LBC:

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Boris meanwhile tells the BBC “my services as a bulldozer blocker won’t be required” because a new Heathrow runway simply “isn’t going to happen”.

David Cameron would avoid all this if he kept his 2009 promise: “No ifs, no buts, there’ll be no third runway at Heathrow”. Good timing for the first Tory mayoral hustings on Saturday…

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Quote of the Day

Expelled Tory MP, Richard Benyon, on the short three-day Programme Motion for the Withdrawal Agreement Bill:

“Whether you had three days, three weeks or three months debating this, you would not hear one original argument that we hadn’t otherwise heard in this process…”

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